It might be noon on the Sahara. It might be the heart of an Arctic blizzard. Whatever it is, it is daunting. I’m talking about the blank page that sits in front of me, taunting me to write something, anything. Insinuating that whatever I write will be pale and boring.
I’ve heard that I’m not the only one that sees this kind of thing when they look at a blank page. Nor are my fears singular. But I have the solution to this problem. I start to type. Soon the page isn’t blank any more. As I look back over my words, I realize that I have a choice. I can either leave the words that I’ve written or I can delete them. Which ever choice I make, it is better than having sat and stared at the blank page having written nothing.
Every word I write, every blog entry I post, every story that I tell, I get better at writing. Sometimes I immerse myself in it and lose myself in the flow of words. I enjoy every stroke of every key. I revel in the words that inch across the page. I may do that for a day or I may do it for a month. When I think to check my progress I am amazed.
My voice is beginning to shine through the prose. I see myself peeking out at myself from behind the words on the page. I am impressed at how cohesive my writing is and how smoothly it transitions from one word to the next, forming sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph. And if that isn’t enough, it actually is making sense. I am expressing my ideas in a coherent fashion. I am a writer.
Then I look at the disaster that is each of my prior attempts at novels. I am a little bit discouraged but there is a glimmer of hope. Deep in my chest I am convinced that there is a diamond in the manuscript just waiting for me to cut it and mount it and show it to the world in all it’s beauty.
I am scared that I will mess it up. But I will start from a backup. I will snapshot my work every day until I have managed to whip it into shape and I start looking for beta readers to help me figure out what works and what doesn’t. It is exhilarating to journey down this path for the first time. I suspect it will be ever so.
I think about my mother. She wanted to follow this path. I don’t know if it was depression, or the responsibility of two boys and a husband that had no concept of how to do anything more than the absolute minimum of domestic maintenance, leaving the bulk of the task to her. She wrote a little here and a little there but she never became the writer that she wanted to be. I reject that fate and claim my right to be a writer.
Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.